North House Gallery is delighted to present the work of Rod Bugg, a sculptor working in fired clay and drawing, who sees his recent sculpture as breaking new ground as well as returning to and rethinking familiar ways of working. The drawings are produced in parallel with the sculpture, rather than necessarily preparatory to it, but are concerned with similar issues of simplicity of form and tactility of surface and even, when the paper is built up in layers, with a similar interest in the impact of the work in both two and three dimensions.
The rectilinear sculpture makes no apology for its initial appearance as an abstract configuration of tiles, aligned in grids on the floor or mounted on walls. But where Carl Andre's famous Equivalent VIII consists of ready made industrial bricks, Rod Bugg is totally engaged with his material. Pieces like Italian Linen Reconstructed, for example, are hand made in moulds and partially glazed in a painterly way with a restricted palette of black and white glazes. The serendipitous effects of the raku firing are compounded by mixing in with the clay organic matter found on walks in the landscape of Wales, when artist in residence at the Sidney Nolan Trust, or of his beloved Italy, whose art and landscape are major inspirations. When the organic matter is burned away in the firing, the ghosts of these memory sticks remain in the cracks and indentations on the surface and hidden within the piece.
Most artists are concerned about how their work is displayed in a gallery, but Rod Bugg regards the relationship of the work to the surrounding space and light as integral to the understanding of the work itself. It is important that both the surface and the material depth of the modular works are apparent. Happily, these pieces can also be reconfigured to suit a particular space. He has had regular solo shows since 1986 in Amsterdam (hence the hint of Mondrian and the tiled interiors of Dutch painting) at the Galerie de Witte Voet, where he has built up an understanding of these issues. On his first visit to North House Gallery he could visualise his work there. In April his vision will be a reality.
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